Checking In

1834 Hotels

South Australia has a lot to offer the inquisitive traveller, from the vibrant, multicultural city of Adelaide, recently named one of Lonely Planet’s Top 10 cities to visit in 2014, to the peace and quiet of the countryside. Savour the local delights of the Barossa Valley by the glassful or dive down to the ghostly shipwrecks lying in the deep…

And some of the best places to stay while exploring all the landmarks and hidden treasures that the region has to offer are managed by 1834 Hotels. Formerly known as Country Club Hotels and Resorts, 1834 Hotels is the new identity for the South Australian accommodation network, with corporate management by 1834 Hospitality. And it’s an identity that celebrates its South Australian heritage.

Rebranding can be a make or break decision for any business, but for 1834 Hotels, CEO Andrew Bullock believes that it has been a move in the right direction. “It was a big step for us to do that but I feel it’s been a really good development,” he says. “I think that giving a more standardised name as opposed to hallmarking the group into a particular part of the industry has been really beneficial.”

Staying Local

While there is so much to see and do in South Australia for all different types of travellers, everybody needs accommodation. 1834 Hotels manages a diverse network of seven individually owned hotels and motels across the state, including Adelaide Meridien Hotel & Apartments located on Melbourne Street in North Adelaide. The Adelaide Meridien is close to the newly redeveloped Adelaide Oval, and the famous Rundle Shopping Mall, regarded by many as Adelaide’s premier shopping destination. Just a short walk from Adelaide’s cosmopolitan city centre is Adelaide Royal Coach, a small but lovely motel in the 1834 Hotels portfolio. The Royal Coach offers guests, from couples to corporate travellers to bus groups, personalised service with free car parking and the onsite Terrace Restaurant.

Another great place to stay, managed with pride by 1834 Hotels, is Apartments on George in Norwood. Less than two kilometres from the city and a short walk to The Parade shopping and dining precinct, these fully self-contained two bedroom apartments are perfect for short or long stays with all of the creature comforts of home. For stays of one week or more, Apartments on George offers guests a complimentary weekly housekeeping service.

Sometimes, to experience the best that a region has to offer travellers have to get away from the bright city lights of Adelaide – and with 1834 Hotels, there is no need to rough it. 1834 Hotels manages Clare Country Club and McCracken Country Club, both blessed with some picturesque views. Nestled in the lush green heart of the Clare Valley, a premium wine region, Clare Country Club is the place to unwind in style. The Clare Valley is right up there with the Barossa in terms of wine making, especially renowned for its Rieslings, so be sure to take a leisurely tour through some of the local wineries. McCracken Country Club on the outskirts of Victor Harbor in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula, is a four and a half star resort which boasts a tranquil day spa, two restaurants, tennis courts and spa room and apartment accommodation overlooking the 18 hole golf course.

For travellers seeking a more casual atmosphere, 1834 Hotels manages John Pirie Motor Inn, located in Port Pirie in South Australia’s mid north, the gateway to the Southern Flinders Ranges and outback. John Pirie Motor Inn boasts an outdoor pool area, self-cook barbeque facilities and JP’s Restaurant. Travellers on a budget will love the inexpensive and cheerful Naracoorte Hotel/Motel on the Limestone Coast, offering clean and comfortable accommodation. There is an onsite bottle shop, gaming room and Billy Mac’s Bistro serving hearty pub favourites daily.

Exploring Australia

Along with South Australia, the Northern Territory has its own unique attractions and hidden gems for curious minds to discover. Here, explore the untamed beauty of Kakadu National Park or witness the splendour of Uluru, a sacred place for the local Anangu people and a national treasure. 1834 Hotels is beginning to focus on the Northern Territory as an area for future growth and has already gained some new contracts in the process. Alice Springs RSL Club is one of the latest additions under 1834 Hospitality’s management for food and beverage. Alice Springs RSL Club is where the locals go to eat, drink and be entertained and the venue has recently undergone a refurbishment.

No matter if 1834 Hospitality is managing an inner city hotel, a budget motel under the 1834 Hotels network or a non-branded club, developing a positive reputation for the venue is of utmost importance. Guests do not just write postcards home anymore; there are travel review websites for the world to read right at their fingertips, and the difference between rave reviews or warnings from past guests being posted online depends largely on how well a venue is being managed. With a strong commitment to clients across a variety of ownership structures, from single and family ownership through to large shareholder groups, the 1834 Hotels management team does more than just keep a watchful eye on all the properties.

To be sure, there is no better way to see what sort of an impression an accommodation gives and how well it is running operationally than by checking in for a few days. “Yes, I stay in the hotels regularly,” says Mr Bullock. “As a management company, we feel very strongly that having a presence on the ground out and about in our venues is a really important part of what we do. We’re very involved with our properties and we really have to know them inside out from a management capacity. Unless you can actually see or touch the product you become somewhat distant, so we make an active effort to stay in our hotels regularly.”

Although checking into hotels on a regular basis is a definite perk of the job, Mr Bullock says that the best part about being the CEO of 1834 Hotels is having a bird’s eye view of how the individual hotels work. “I get to work with so many diverse parts of each of the elements of the hotel game. I find it a great challenge and very rewarding to be able to see the whole picture of how that comes together.”

Corporate Reinvention>/h4>
It was during mid 2013 that Mr Bullock (who had been working with the Country Club Hotels and Resorts group since 2003) decided rebranding was necessary. The decision was made on the basis that the Country Clubs brand was not a good representation for some of the CBD based hotels and apartments that the group was managing. 1834 Hotels is an out of the box name that was inspired by the history of South Australia. The British Parliament passed the South Australia Colonisation Act in 1834, empowering His Majesty to erect South Australia into a British Province. Plans for the new colony were also unveiled to the public that year, making it a monumental time in the history of South Australia. In conjunction with the rebrand to 1834 Hotels, sleek new websites that are highly informative and easy to navigate were developed for each of the properties.

There are set to be more bold changes in the years ahead for 1834 Hotels and the future of the group in Australian hotel management is looking promising. While 1834 Hotels may have a long way to go before it is as big as some of its competitors, Mr Bullock says that there is an upside to the group being one of the smaller groups in the hotel management game. “I feel that by not being one of the big players it gives us the advantage of being more nimble,” he says. “We can react to changes very quickly.” While international brands like the Accor Group may dominate the hotel management industry, maintaining a close relationship with the properties and understanding Australian regional tourism from a local perspective is what sets 1834 Hotels apart. “We’re a pretty boutique management company, really. We understand regional tourism intimately and I think we’ve got quite a bit to offer in that space as well as in capital cities.”

With a fresh corporate image and the home advantage, Mr Bullock and the rest of the management team at 1834 Hotels have some big plans for the future. “We’re really keen to continue to grow our management company. We think there’s opportunity for us to be involved outside of South Australia and the Northern Territory and we’re enthusiastic about potentially growing into a position where we can have management properties on the eastern seaboard right from Victoria through to Queensland. It’s a target for us.”

Indeed, the 1834 Hotels team is passionate about the future of Australian tourism and welcomes any enquiries from hoteliers interested in trusting the management of their property in expert hands. “It’s something we really enjoy being involved in and that’s the style of business we are. We’re open, we’re friendly, and keen to help where possible.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

September 20, 2018, 5:29 AM AEST